The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) exists to promote the breadth and diversity of comics and what is considered comics as a legitimate medium of literary and artistic worth. We seek to promote the creators of these works in their broad and diverse voices for the betterment of the medium of comics and to reach as broad an audience as possible for them.
The first TCAF was held on the weekend of March 29th, 2003. It was the natural progression of years of disparate book signings, author appearances, and miscellaneous events put together by a group of volunteers interested in promoting the literary and artistic merits of comic books and graphic novels. Approximately 600 members of the public attended the first festival, with 25 staff and approximately 70 creators in attendance.
Attendance and excitement grew during subsequent events held every two years. TCAF 2005 was held the weekend of May 28-29 and saw approximately 6,000 attendees visit the large tents set up on Honest Ed’s department store grounds. TCAF 2007 moved back indoors to the Victoria College building at the University of Toronto and featured about 6,000 attendees over the August 18-19 weekend. TCAF 2009 was held in conjunction with Toronto Public Library in their massive flagship location, Toronto Reference Library. 10,500 people visited the festival on the weekend of May 9th and 10th, engaging over 300 exhibitors consisting of authors, artists, and publishers, from six different countries, including France, Germany, Japan, and England. Since 2010 TCAF has been held at Toronto Reference Library, with attendances increasing annually – we welcomed 12,500 attendees in 2010, 15,000 in 2011, 18,000 in 2012 & 2013, 22,000 in 2014, 24,000 in 2015, and 25,000+ in 2016 and beyond, across all Festival events.
While a Festival the scope and size of TCAF was a natural progression of locally organized events, often in coordination with Toronto comic emporium The Beguiling, it also grew from equal parts agitation and inspiration caused by other large-scale events dealing with the comic book medium. While most shows of this nature are pop-culture events and tend to be insular in nature, we wanted to do something that dealt more specifically with the art form of comics itself, with an emphasis on genre appreciation and open interaction between creators and their community.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Manager, Programming & Partnerships Creative Lead
Word Balloon Academy
Saviola de Mello
Digital Marketplace Developer
Sponsorships & Development
Board of Directors
Peter Birkemoe, Coralie D’Souza, Gary Sherman,
Emma Wakelin, and Michael Duboff.
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat and that Indigenous peoples have lived on and cared for this land for more than 15,000 years. This territory is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Treaty. Today, Toronto is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island. We acknowledge that settlers on the land benefit from colonization.
Conduct & Harassment Policy
We aim to provide a safe and harassment-free space for creators. Since TCAF primarily takes place at the Toronto Reference Library, festival staff, volunteers, and exhibitors are all expected to abide by the Toronto Public Library’s Rules of Conduct.
Violent, threatening, abusive, discriminatory or harassing language or conduct of any kind is not allowed. Photographing, filming or video recording of library staff and users on library property must not be conducted without prior written approval of the Library (or of the persons being recorded). Disruptive or intrusive behaviour is not allowed.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwanted and/or discriminatory advances, intimidation, stalking, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcomed sexual attention or other verbal or physical conduct of a discriminatory nature.
People creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment by engaging in such conduct are unwelcome at the festival and will be escorted out. TCAF reserves the right to revoke tabling privileges for exhibitors who create an unsafe space for people at the festival.
If you feel that you are being harassed or if you see someone else being harassed, please do one of the following:
In the event of an emergency, call 911, Tell Library Security, Tell a TCAF Volunteer (Wearing a TCAF VOLUNTEER shirt), Tell a TCAF Staff Member (Wearing a TCAF STAFF badge)
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions, or would like to provide feedback or input on this policy, please email us at email@example.com.
TCAF 2022 Covid-19 Protocols Commitment
TCAF will follow local, provincial, federal, and on-site (TPL and Courtyard Marriott) regulations and policies for our events.
We require all participants to wear a mask whenever possible and will provide masks on-site for our guests and extra sanitizing stations. Anyone exhibiting, presenting, moderating, or volunteering at our in-person events must upload proof of vaccination by submitting their proof of vaccination document to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers will be on hand to sanitize equipment at event spaces between panels (for example, sanitizing microphones and presenter tables).
It should be noted that the festival is accessible to all, as is the Toronto Public Library, so we cannot ask that all of our attendees show proof of vaccination as those event and venue mandates have currently been lifted in Ontario. We will continue updating guests as policies change.
Here is a link to the Toronto Public Library's Covid-19 Policy Updates.